Fired Peter Chiarelli deserved a chance to right the Bruins' ship
Sometimes, it all comes down to "What have you done for us lately?"
That certainly appears to be the case in Boston, where Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs and team president Cam Neely made the decision Wednesday to relieve general manager Peter Chiarelli of his duties.
First, a look back at Chiarelli's accomplishments as GM of the Bruins:
- Regular-season record during his tenure (2006-15): 386-233-85.
- Hired Claude Julien, the most successful coach in team history.
- Four 100-point seasons.
- Seven straight playoff appearances (2008-15).
- Third- and fourth- best seasons in club history: 116 points in 2008-09, 117 points in 2013-14.
- Presidents' Trophy in 2013-14.
- Eastern Conference champions in 2013.
- Stanley Cup in 2011.
Despite that track record, Chiarelli now finds himself unemployed, albeit likely only temporarily. The consensus is that he will be scooped up by another club relatively quickly based on what he was able to accomplish in Boston. Even one of his former players chimed in and made a pitch for another team to sign him.
And that's precisely why he deserved a shot to do some retooling over the summer and get Boston back on track.
Yes, trading Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars appears to have been quite shortsighted, even though it allowed him to sign Jarome Iginla and the Bruins entered the 2014 playoffs as the top overall seed.
And trading team leader Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders for a second-round draft pick late in training camp may have been a psychological blow of sorts, starting the season off on the wrong skate, so to speak.
Furthermore, the Bruins entered the season hamstrung by cap issues, thanks to bonuses handed to Iginla the season prior, and a predilection for re-signing key, yet secondary players from the 2011 Cup run.
But for the sake of perspective, consider the fact that the Bruins missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years by a mere two points, and were missing both Zdeno Chara and David Krejci for large chunks of the season, and Dougie Hamilton and trade deadline acquisition Brett Connolly for several games down the stretch.
Julien himself also acknowledged that the coaching staff didn't get the most out of certain players, namely high-priced forward Milan Lucic.
On top of that, the Bruins were bumped due to a miraculous run by the previously unknown Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators. At the same time, the Pittsburgh Penguins - who fired their own Cup-winning GM and coach after last season - needed a win over the Buffalo Sabres on the final day of the season to qualify for the playoffs, serving as a cautionary tale of sorts that change isn't always a good thing.
Add it all up, and one season of disappointment should not wipe out a near decade of growth and success in Boston, wherein Chiarelli led the Bruins to the pinnacle of NHL success for the first time since the Bobby Orr era.
Chiarelli's track record should have afforded him the right - even on a shorter leash - to fix things over the offseason. Now he's a free agent in his own right, and Julien awaits his fate based on who takes over.